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tv   Washington Ideas Forum Day 1 Afternoon Session  CSPAN  January 11, 2015 12:12am-12:28am EST

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with new outbreaks. obviously in the future as we've done with the flu vaccine we could synthetically make a vaccine learned quickly for flute, we can -- vaccine very quickly for flu, we can e-mail it around the world. you can do one of our devices to print it and it can be given locally to stop future flu pandemics from ever spreading. that has to be done disease by disease. >> i would love to talk the audience about -- the sky -- this guy is working on a digital biological converter which if somebody is sick and vomiting and stuff you can scoop it up, figure out what the virus is , transfer the genome to the lab anywhere in the world and they can come up with a vaccine and send it back to you digitally and you can make it where you live. one day soon, never, maybe? >> one day soon. we can do that right now with
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newly emerging flu vaccines. the u.s. has a stockpile of a h1n1 vaccine. it is the first synthetic dna -based vaccine that my team at the institute did. with novartis. it proves the paradigm can happen so we have a stockpile of the new vaccine before a single case has occurred in the u.s. for the first time we are ahead of the game instead of trying to play catch-up. it is a matter of, on each of these infectious diseases, working out the right to basis of the basis of the disease. one size does not fit all but the future will be rapidly e-mailing these around and downloading them and blocking the transmission and we should be able to eliminate future pandemics. >> well, santa claus has very little on this guy. his presents are huge. and fascinating.
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we are out of time, santa. everybody say goodbye to him applause-wise so he can hear you . [applause] >> another ovi interviews was with incoming smithsonian institution secretary david. mrs. 15 minutes. -- this is 15 minutes. >> good afternoon. it is good to get to go david from cornell. the announcement was made in march. you will not assume the position until next summer but as you're thinking clarified since the announcement. >> not really, but it is a fair question.
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i am hugely enthusiastic and excited about working at the intersection. i'm a doctor who spent his life in science and medicine but i think the humanistic disciplines are actively important and we are living in a stem-oriented age so it is a fabulous opportunity. that is a way of sidestepping your question but i do not know. i am going through the learning curve. >> one of the things you did say was you were asked by one of my colleagues about admission fees. you said something. it is too early to pin down on specific questions. that sounds like the door might be open. if the door open to the idea of charging admissions?
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>>. as far as i am concerned. but let me say it over again. one of the fabulous things about the smithsonian is that anyone can get in there and you cannot even need to come to washington to do that as of -- thank you the sectors work on digitizing part of the collections. it is a very populist ideal. i think it's a fabulous idea to make it more accessible. but in washington one of the beauties is you can come and it's very populist idea and a populist ideal. what i did say, maybe my fault two different thoughts got conflated, was that business models of everything that depends on government funding are going to have to be more and more created. i think we're all dealing with this at least in universities we are, private public partnerships are springing up in court because of the reality of revenue. but no, i've no intention of making those institutions less accessible. >> fundraising for the smithsonian may be more difficult perhaps than four or -- then for cornell. the bbc had a piece same cornell
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was number six when it comes to the number of its alumni who are billionaires. smithsonian does not have billionaire alumni. under the tenure, a lot of debate about where the line should be drawn when it comes to entering into private or commercial relationships for the smithsonian. in one case in particular was arranged with showtime that would've given them apparently exclusively first right of refusal over the use of archival materials, smithsonian objects. a lot of people complained about that, that is seen to be taking a public resource and privatizing it. any sense from your work in university where the red lines need to be for something like this smithsonian when it comes to those sort of arrangements in the future? >> yes, a great, great question. we talk about fund raising a little bit. the way fundraising works in most organizations, everyone i've ever worked at, and it worked at a bunch of them, is a pyramidal structure where many many people give about that
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-- amounts they are comfortable with, or modest amounts and fewer give more and fewer give more, and as you mentioned sometimes you're able to get these enormous breathtaking gifts from people with the capacity to do it. and i think that kind of gift pyramid is true for every nonprofit that raises money. and i'm hugely impressed, hugely impressed that the smithsonian has already raised -- it was announced 10 days or so ago $1 billion toward the campaign goal of $1 billion. an organization that does not alumni. ilya mayors are not, so i put the brand of the smithsonian if i could use that word is fabulous. is that you? good. not me. i've been trained to turn that baby off. but anyway, i think the fundraising will be different but i think it will be doable and i think a lot of people are supportive of it. but despite the fundraising and despite the very generous money that comes from the u.s. government, there will be a push to find other what i will call enterprise type of funding.
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and every nonprofit that i know about thinks about this broad range of revenue streams. i can't comment on the showtime contract. i never looked at it. i will become familiar with it of course when i'm in the saddle, but i will say that defining where that line is legally and ethically in terms of what fits the feeling the ethos is completely important -- unbelievably important that will be part of my job. i will try to be open about it and hope that people will comment on what they think that line should be drawn. i can't say much about the showtime. i do think it's important to think about enterprise functions and public-private partnerships but it's got to be done in a way that everyone feels good about. >> the other sort of controversy the smithsonian seems to be perennially wondering in do, of course -- wandering into, of course, is cultural issues.
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not so long ago there was an exhibition at the national portrait gallery called hide and seek that got the current secretary and a good deal of hot water. this was an exhibition of gay and lesbian themes in portraiture. one item in the exhibition was deemed offensive by a fairly small number of people but fairly loud protester and the secretaries i did pull it from the exhibition i'm they don't want to necessarily second-guess your predecessor but coming out of a university context, where you have been quite strong about is dressing that free speech -- addressing the free speech aspect over the civility question, does that, to those issues come come will transfer? can essentially run the smithsonian with the same emphasis on free speech as you tried to do at cornell? >> well, yes, i think it's very important to do so. and i think in general the smithsonian does that, does that. as you suggested i am not going to second-guess what i'm sure
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was a very hard decision. i will not second-guess my process on any decision to i will say that as we talked about a few years ago as we're getting ready, creative activity of any stripe tends to foster controversy. recently the smithsonian came out with what i view as a bold statement on climate change , saying that based on a lot of data anthropological and other kinds of data that it looks as if the warming that's going on that you can really argue about is due in great part to human activity. and it wasn't too long ago is to -- ago that a statement like that would be wildly controversial and may still be controversial in some quarters. i think whether it's size and certainly arts and in my 20s the humanities, very frequently foster controversy. so i think that we need to be able to embrace that controversy and be part of the culture world and the science world in a way that makes sense, in a way that is done carefully, thoughtfully, but not necessarily back away from controversy. but honestly i can't comment. >> at cornell you've been
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willing to attract a bit of -- a good deal of controversy with your position on immigration reform and other issues like that. when it comes to kind of cultural controversies, let's take for instance the humanities, as the secretary of the smithsonian do you think you can say we need robust funding for the nadh? can you be a public advocate for the humanities in that since? -- sense? >> well, i've been pushing very hard as you were alluding to for neh funding for years and years and years. but i been successful, teacher -- each year i've worked on this the funding has gone down a look at each new. they got to the point where some of my always said once you work on some sites funny for a couple of years. [laughter] so we can catch up. i think it's very, very important. exactly what i advocate for i think is going to be less important than i think calling attention to the fact that the humanities and the arts as well are very, very, very important.
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and again, in a stem oriented - age which is very understandable in a recession, even though some parts of the economy has bounced back a lot which all know the economy is not totally bounced back. i think it's very important we don't lose track of these disciplines. so yes, i think it's important and i hope to be able to work with and learn from the other leaders of the cultural institutions in washington who know many, many times more than i know about the washington scene and about what flies and what works. but i think that the bully pulpit, if you will, platform of the secretary should be used to point out the broad needs of the country in a way that's reasonable. and since i've garnered a chance to comment on it, whatever public positions i've taken in higher education have been linked to higher education and link to something that had some familiarity with. and as i said again and again, you won't hear me talk about things in washington that are not directly involved in and don't know anything about. but i think arguing that the
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country should not turn its back on the social sciences humanities, and arts is very important. i'm proud to been one of the authors of the report from the american academy of arts and sciences called "heart of the matter" that was released a couple of years ago. and that argues that the broad range of discipline needs to be pursued, no matter what we talk about, whether we're talking economic competitiveness whether we are talking about placement for students at whatever level. we had to think broadly and not just about the s.t.e.m. disciplines. and this is a s.t.e.m. guy talking to you. >> in several interviews since you announced you becoming to the smithsonian you set your -- said your greatest regret at cornell has been about the causes of affordability of tuition there. you've also been a remarkable fund raiser. fiscal year 2014-$732 million came in. of which though, only $9 million -- $39 million has been
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earmarked specifically for student aid. is that the right balance, if it's a real problem facing cornell? >> a terrific question the don't you like what i grade your questions? >> i will try to ask some bad wants. >> you are have asked some bad -- have already asked some bad ones. you got some c's. [laughter] at in any case, in any case, i will tell you, the broad broad -- let me see, how to put it exactly, what was the last one phrase you were asking. >> look, 39 is about speed which are asking is disconnect between the rhetoric and the meta- money he raised him ok? i was looking for that. let me think about it from two different aspects. first of all it is true and i have said it many times in public and apply to say it again in public know that my biggest single regret from to university that 2 -- two do university
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presidencies is the universe of iowa and the cornell university is that i was unable to change the balance more effectively between access and affordability. and at cornell which is an unusual place because a place with a big and dumb, very few american institutions, about 100 of the 4000 colleges and just has substantial endowment. so a little tiny piece of american education, of course an important piece. we are able to, for half the families in america, half of the families in america can go to cornell and have no parental contribution and not borrow any money from student loan. then at the other end of the spectrum there are people whose salaries or assets permit them to pay cash, even for very expensive education as an ivy league education. but between those aspects of the socioeconomic spectrum, between those that have the films in america we can help, people who make too much to be considered needy in that sense, but don't make enough to pay for this, especially if they have two or three kids in college, i didn't do good enough job of organizing
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that. and it takes two parts to organize that. it takes some series of change in the cost matrix of the university so cost less to run. during the recession, the beginning of the recession i eliminated two vice presidencies presidencies, took my salary cap, and other things to reduce costs but that wasn't enough. the other end was to increase revenue. a lot of it was tuition and some with financial aid. let's talk about the other half of which are asking and that is the path between the rhetoric and how much was raised. it cost will be $50,000 in tuition and fees to go to an institution like cornell, a little bit more than that but let's call it $50,000. if a person wants to donate a scholarship in an endowment that would last for ever and in perpetuity about the student -- allow the student to have a free ride through cornell, that's $1 million contribution that will yield a number earnings of about 50,000 a year --

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